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Comic Books and the Cold War, 1946-1962: Essays on Graphic by Chris York, Rafiel York

By Chris York, Rafiel York

Traditional knowledge holds that comedian books of the post-World warfare II period are poorly drawn and poorly written courses, extraordinary just for the furor they raised. participants to this considerate assortment, although, exhibit that those comics represent complicated cultural files that create a discussion among mainstream values and substitute ideals that question or complicate the grand narratives of the period. shut research of person titles, together with EC comics, Superman, romance comics, and different, extra vague works, finds the methods chilly warfare culture--from atomic anxieties and the extended family to communist hysteria and social inequalities--manifests itself within the comedian books of the period. by way of illuminating the complexities of mid-century picture novels, this examine demonstrates that postwar pop culture was once faraway from monolithic in its illustration of yankee values and ideology.

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Extra resources for Comic Books and the Cold War, 1946-1962: Essays on Graphic Treatment of Communism, the Code and Social Concerns

Example text

As such, it is not too much of a stretch to read Dour as a proxy for the atomic scientists and public intellectuals opposed to the tests. This portrayal has unsettling implications. After all, Dour reduces Superman, a symbol of truth, justice, and the American way to blithering ineffectuality. He is portrayed, above all, as a threat to the social order. What’s more, Superman’s photographic memory, X-ray vision, and super-hearing aid in the undoing of Dour’s scheme. All told, this depiction of threats from within and the good that comes from surveillance reads as an advance justification for the sort of domestic surveillance and ferreting out of ill-defined threats that would become so common later in the Cold War.

Crime Paradise” perpetuates JTF-1’s preferred interpretation of the films and their purpose. That the films happen to serve as a warning to men who talk against peace — here meaning the USSR, or any country seeking to develop their own bomb — is a consequence of the enormity of its content, and not of authorial intent. However, by acknowledging this consequence, “Crime Paradise” suggests the capacity of the nuclear test film to contain the threat posed by the bomb. And while somewhat at odds with JTF-1’s official narrative, this suggestion points to an alternate use for the nuclear test film, one that would prevail in the years to follow.

This ambivalence is reflected in the story’s title, “Crime Paradise,” which refers explicitly to the story, (Metropolis becomes a crime paradise in Superman’s absence), but also alludes to the location of the tests at Bikini (a crime in paradise). This dual valence suggests there remained some question about exactly what happened at Bikini. All told, the title, the last line, and the fear and paranoia driving the plot collude to reflect an abiding unease about the bomb that would ultimately prove impossible to contain.

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